New catalysts for higher kerosene yields: Webinar highlights advances in sustainable aviation

New catalysts for higher kerosene yields: Webinar highlights advances in sustainable aviation

Freedom and mobility are critical aspects of our open societies and preserving these achievements for the future requires a rapid transition to carbon-neutral aviation. Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) have emerged as a key solution to this challenge. Against the backdrop of increasing SAF market shares, the development of efficient catalysts for SAF production has become essential. A recent webinar, held on 22 June, highlighted the ground-breaking CARE-O-SENE research project, which focuses on optimising catalysts for the production of SAF.

Please find the link to the webinar and presentation here.

During the webinar, two distinguished experts and the co-leads of the project, Dr Tobias Sontheimer, Head of the Strategy Department for Energy and Information at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, and Dr Dirk Schär, Technical Manager Marketing and Sales Catalysts at Sasol Germany GmbH, shared their insights into the three-year, €40 million CARE-O-SENE project.

Dr Sontheimer emphasised the importance of accelerating innovation through collaboration between industry and the public sector. Highlighting the exceptional capabilities of the project partners, he said, "By combining the expertise and resources of Sasol, HZB, KIT, UCT, IKTS and INERATEC we are ushering in a new era of sustainable aviation with a focus on catalyst research".

Dr Schär explained the progress being made through CARE-O-SENE. "Our goal is to develop a new kind of more efficient catalysts that maximise kerosene yields in the SAF production process," he explained. "In doing so, we will overcome one of the key barriers to scaling up sustainable aviation fuel production."

As the aviation industry increasingly embraces SAF to reduce its carbon footprint, catalyst optimisation is essential to ensure efficient and cost-effective production. The CARE-O-SENE project's collaborative approach and focus on catalyst research has positioned it at the forefront of the sustainable aviation fuel revolution.

The webinar provided participants with valuable insights into the CARE-O-SENE project. Through the combined efforts of its partners and leading research institutions, the project aims to transform the aviation sector by providing a commercially viable and sustainable alternative to traditional kerosene-based fuels.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to combat climate change, the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels is becoming increasingly important. The CARE-O-SENE project's commitment to advancing catalyst research is an important step towards achieving carbon-neutral aviation and preserving mobility that is fundamental to our societies.

CARE-O-SENE portrayed in the German Federal Report on Energy Research 2023

CARE-O-SENE portrayed in the German Federal Report on Energy Research 2023

At the beginning of June, the 7th Federal Report for Energy Research 2023 was ratified by the Cabinet. The 110-page publication presents the funding policy and progress of the energy research programme. Under the guiding idea "Innovations for the energy transition", various federal ministries are participating in the programme with the aim to secure innovative, climate-friendly and highly efficient energy technologies.

In 2022, the German government supported several thousand research, development and demonstration projects and invested around 1.5 billion euros. CARE-O-SENE is one of the funded projects. Furthermore, our German-South African development project on the new catalysts in the Fischer-Tropsch process is portrayed in the report under the heading of international cooperation. We as a consortium are convinced that every idea is only as good as the team behind it - and that innovation does not stop at national borders. We are more than grateful that the potential of our research idea is not only recognised but also funded.

You can read the entire report here – you will find the portrait of CARE-O-SENE on page 93.

CARE-O-SENE opens 789th WE Heraeus Seminar on Sustainable Aviation Fuels

CARE-O-SENE opens 789th WE Heraeus Seminar on Sustainable Aviation Fuels

"Sustainable Aviation Fuels – Design, Production and Climate Impact" – this was the topic of the 789th WE Heraeus Seminar hosted by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation From 24 to 27 May, experts in their field presented the current status and future developments in the process chain of sustainable aviation fuels – from raw materials to production and actual application.

Some of our partners from the CARE-O-SENE consortium were also present. These included Prof Michael ClaeysUniversity of Cape Town, and co-organiser Prof. Dr Moritz Wolf from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Dr Denzil MoodleySenior Scientist Research & Technology at Sasol, opened the event with his presentation on the progress of the CARE-O-SENE research project. The aim of the project is to develop and optimise so-called cobalt catalysts. They play a key role in the large-scale production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

Denzil Moodley's presentation focused on work packages 2 and 3. The second work package deals with the structural characterisation of catalyst materials in order to support catalyst development and testing in packages 1 and 3. The third work package aims to produce larger quantities of suitable catalysts. This material will then be used to carry out tests on a larger scale.

In addition, the seminar offered young researchers the opportunity to actively participate in panel discussions and exchange ideas with SAF experts. They also had the opportunity to present their own results in poster presentations. Young CARE-O-SENE partners were also present. Rabia Elbuga-Ilica, Enrico Sireci and Dan Zhao from KIT and Dr Catalina E. Jiménez from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), among others, prepared posters. Cherie Hsu from KIT was even able to take home the poster prize for her contribution "Cobalt oxide model systems with mixed metals (Mn, Al, Ti) for optimising the sustainable production of aviation fuel by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis".

The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation is a non-profit foundation for the promotion and education within the natural sciences. More information on the 789th WE Heraeus Seminar is available here:

Strategic Advisory Board visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

Strategic Advisory Board visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

On May 25th, our partners at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) welcomed the members of the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) of the Helmholtz Research Field Energy. At the event, Dr Lucero Cobos Becerra and Dr Avela Kunene from HZB presented the CARE-O-SENE project in detail. The goal of this catalyst research programme is to pave the way for large-scale production of sustainable aviation fuels by 2025.

Members of the SAB include Prof. Steven Chu, Nobel laureate in physics and former US Secretary of Energy.

(from left): Prof. Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association, Dr Lucero Cobos Becerra, Prof. Steven Chu, Dr Avela Kunene and Prof. Bernd Rech, Managing Director of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

South African delegation visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

South African delegation visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

On March 28th, a delegation of senior political and business representatives from South Africa visited the Helmholtz-Zentrum, Berlin (HZB) in a meeting organised by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work. The gathering was triggered by an interest in the cooperation of the CARE-O-SENE consortium partners and was attended by business and government agency leaders, as well as the programme manager for Infrastructure Financing and Funding, Shaakira Karolia, representing the South African presidency.

The guests were given a tour of the HZB’s synchrotron facility, as well as presentations on CARE-O-SENE and the science behind the initiative. The event was very well received by the South African delegation and once again reinforced the message of the fossil-free future being a considerable challenge while also demonstrating the dedication and effort being expended by the consortium partners in overcoming it.

First ministerial meeting on CARE-O-SENE at University of Cape Town

First ministerial meeting on CARE-O-SENE at University of Cape Town

On 27 March 2023, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, met up with German and South-African delegates from the scientific, industrial, and political communities at the University of Cape Town in a first official visit regarding collaborative initiatives between the two countries, including CARE-O-SENE, of which Sasol is a founding consortium member.

The event was attended by Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, and Andreas Peschke, the German Ambassador Designate to South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini, as well as dignitaries from the university, the Helmholtz Zentrum in Berlin, and Sasol, among others.

Federal Minister Stark-Watzinger emphasised the significance of this field of research: “Clean airplanes for a clean planet: Just as aviation increased the speed of travel, clean aviation can accelerate climate action. The shift in the skies will bring the transition on the ground. Researchers are already working on making this vision come true. Together with South Africa, we will achieve the global energy transition.”

CARE-O-SENE is a truly unique partnership industry and research to accelerate innovation in the large-scale commercialization of green kerosene production by 2025. The initiative has received significant funding by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and represents a key component in the joint Green Hydrogen strategy of Germany and South-Africa.

NDR visits Sasol in Brunsbuettel

At the beginning of February, Sasol Germany welcomed the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) to its Brunsbuettel plant. Research is currently being carried out there on the development of a new generation of catalysts. Sasol will then test them at its site in South Africa, the largest Fischer Tropsch pilot plant in the world. This is because the new catalysts are expected to form the basis for an efficient and cost-effective production of green kerosene in the future.

Dr Dirk Schär, Lead Technical Marketing Catalyst, Dr Angela Siegel, Manager R&D Shaped Carrier at Sasol Germany, and her team gave the NDR team an insight into the research work. In the process, they present various possible shapes of a catalyst and explain that these are crucial for efficient kerosene yield.

The entire NDR report on CARE-O-SENE research in Brunsbuettel can be found here.

Partner-News: Dirk Schär in CHEManager

In an article in CHEManager, Dr Dirk Schär, Lead Technical Marketing Catalyst at Sasol Germany and project manager at CARE-O-SENE, talks about the international research project. He goes into detail about the advantages and necessity of new catalysts in the production of sustainable aviation fuels and explains the individual work steps of the CARE-O-SENE project.

Click here for the full article! (This article is only available in German)

Partner-News: CARE-O-SENE in Adlershof Journal

Partner-News: CARE-O-SENE in Adlershof Journal

In an interview with Adlershof Journal, Tobias Sontheimer, head of the Energy Strategy Department at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and project manager at CARE-O-SENE, and Yazmin Lucero, chemical engineer at HZB and coordinator of all project partners, talk about the goals of the CARE-O-SENE project and the associated experiments at HBZ in Adlershof.

Click here for the full article!

International exchange continues: Sasol hosts German innovation officer in Sasolburg

International exchange continues: Sasol hosts German innovation officer in Sasolburg

Johannesburg, South Africa, 28 November 2022 Following the visit of the German Ambassador to South Africa Sasol Operations now hosted two more German envoys at the Sasolburg plant: Till Mansmann, Innovation Officer for Green Hydrogen at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and H.E. Enrico Brandt, Deputy German Ambassador.

Together they got an idea of the work being carried out as part of the CARE-O-SENE project. The aim of the project is to develop novel Fischer-Tropsch catalysts needed for the production of sustainable kerosene on an industrial scale.

Between the obligatory safety briefings and a joint tour of the plant, last Monday's visit was filled with topics such as sustainable aviation fuels, the importance of green hydrogen, and the innovative use of Sasol's many years of experience in Fischer-Tropsch technology. Dr Denzil Moodley, Senior Scientist at Sasol, gave an overview of the current state of research and technology around CARE-O-SENE.

The visit of Mansmann and Brandt to Sasolburg continues the international exchange between Germany and South Africa. The project will thus establish long-term, strategic cooperation partnerships that will also play an important role in the development of future projects in the field of green hydrogen use. 

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